Be careful, student worker, what you say

A recent report in The Northerner prompted a Northern Kentucky University administrator to ensure any future comments by student employees in the W. Frank Steely Library meet his expectations.

Meetings were held April 6 and 7 by Associate Provost Arne Almquist to discuss employee responses to media questions. The meetings came shortly after a student employee made comments to a student reporter about her feelings on whether extending library hours was a good idea.

Once the comments went public, library administators addressed concerns about the comments to the student worker.

Following publication, the quoted employee emailed a reporter alleging a miscommunication, but offering an explanation for her change in perspective.

“Personally when I first saw it I did not get offended when I read it but others did and I was spoke to about it,” the employee wrote.

That speech was reiterated in a meeting where student employees said they had an open and frank discussion on how to address reporters’ questions.

“It was a constructive meeting,” a student employee said. “They were letting everybody speak their mind.”

The employee requested not to be named because they were concerned about repercussions.

In an interview with The Northerner, Associate Provost Arne Almquist said he’s not trying to keep students from offering their opinion.

“We’re not saying people cannot talk to reporters or give their opinions,” said Associate Provost Arne Almquist. “But we don’t want miscommunication.”

If it is clear that something has been stated as an opinion, it is fine, Almquist explained. He added that his primary concern is that what is published is an accurate report.

A group within the library’s marketing team is currently doing research to get a short policy statement put into place, Almquist said. The policy is intended to make it more clear to employees when they should redirect a question to a higher official.

Almquist said that sometimes it may just be a matter of checking with someone else before answering a question.

Story by Roxanna Blevins